Saturday, March 24

Mondello sunshine brings out the stars - Dunlop Masters Qualifying and Show report

Conditions for racing were better than perfect at the outset of the 2018 Dunlop Masters Championship today in Mondello park. While the circuit was busy, the paddock was also a hive of activity as vendors set up stalls for tomorrow’s show. Many major brands and manufacturers will be represented at the show that will be running in conjunction with the racing all day tomorrow.

As qualification took place there were many tight battles. In the Supertwin group, Dave Dave Butler and Derek Wilson renewed rivalries with Dave edging P1 from Wilson with Eunan McGlinchey qualifying 3rd. In Production twins, Kevin Dempsey grabbed pole from Shane Donovan and Mark Quilligan.

Supersport Pro saw the welcome return of Emmett O’Grady on an R6 and he proved he was still up for a challenge by taking P1 from Ray Casey and Dean McMaster in a worryingly small group of only 7 bikes. In the Cup class Keelim Ryan progressed will to take pole from Trevor Landers and Eoin Collins in 3rd.

It was a different story however in the Sidecars session as an amazing 12 bikes filled the grid. Dylan Lynch and Mark Gash continued as they qualified on top but, by a slender margin of only .013s from Mark Codd and Liam Gordon on the F1 outfits. Ex-solo racer Philip McNally brought Dave Butler around the National circuit 3rd fastest just ahead of Derek Lynch and Anthony McDonnell. The grid also saw TT veteran Terry O’Reilly back racing with Graham Kennedy in the chair.

If the SSP Pro field was small, the Pro Superbike entry wasn’t much bigger with only 8 bikes out. Current SBK champion Richie Ryan laid down a marker with a 54.5 lap that Charles Stuart got within .3s of and Peter Moloney took 3rd on the grid. In the SBK Cup group, Darryl Sharkey didn’t hang about as he qualified 1st ahead of Gary O’Brien on the S1000rr and 3rd place went to Frank Doherty on the immaculately turned out Seton Yamaha R1M.

In the Principal Insurance Pre-injection group, Ian Prendergast dipped under the minute mark to qualify on top with Kevin Madigan in 2nd and Enda Delaneynot far back at all in 3rd.

For all other results, see the Speedhive app. For tomorrow’s race schedule, view it on the Masters Superbike page. Entry including the show\Stunt riding is only €15 (€12.50 online)

Word and images Andy Quinn

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